Course specification and structure
Undergraduate Course Structures Postgraduate Course Structures

PMSOCWRK - MSc Social Work

Course Specification

Validation status Validated
Highest award Master of Science Level Masters
Possible interim awards Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate, Advanced Diploma in Professional Development
Total credits for course 180
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School School of Social Professions
Subject Area Social Work
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 2 YEARS  
Course leader  

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

The MSc Social Work programme is one of the qualifying Social Work courses in London, which means it has an advantage to compete against fast track postgraduate programmes such as Frontline and Step up to Social Work. The market for the MSc courses remains strong it attracts a diverse range of students due to the widening participation agenda. This is not necessarily true particularly of other postgraduate programmes that have been criticised for the lack of a diverse student group.

Standards the programme is designed to meet
This course will provide the opportunity for those aspiring to become social workers to develop the knowledge, skills and capabilities that lead to registration with the professional body.
• Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is the social work governing body the programme currently conforms to. The HCPC Standards of Proficiency must be met. However, this governing body will change to ‘Social Work England’ during 2019. We are keeping abreast of these changes by reading consultation papers.
• The Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) are hosted by the British Association Social Workers (BASW). The PCF guides the development of social workers’ capabilities and confidence in managing risk, ambiguity and complexity at nine levels of practice.
• The Knowledge and Skills Statement (KSS) Children & Families and Adults have been developed by the Chief Social Workers to set out what is expected of qualified social workers in specific practice settings and roles and at different levels of seniority. The KSS map onto the Practice domains of the PCF (Knowledge, Critical Reflection and Analysis, Interventions and Skills) and should help guide everyday practice.

Combination of learning techniques
Learning and teaching will consist of real time and virtual support to augment learning, a structured programme of formal lectures, workshops, seminars, presentations and student-led discussions. Students' learning will be structured around the weekly contact time with the teaching team and will be complemented by students' independent work based on the guidance supplied in lectures, group work, tutorials and interactive workshops. Enquiry based learning and problem-based learning will be used to help students to comprehend theoretical concepts. Students will be required to engage continuously and constructively with the course.

Placement learning comprises 50% of the programme. A 70-day placement in the Private, Voluntary and Independent Sector is undertaken in the first year and a 100-day placement with statutory duties is undertaken in the second year

E learning
WebLearn is a virtual learning environment designed to support students learning, providing access to wider reading and resources to help to prepare for each session e.g. websites, policy documents and articles and or to revise and deepen knowledge after sessions e.g. lecture notes.

Students Support
• A week-long induction programme is designed to help students orient themselves to the programme and begin to get to know the staff and their peers.
• Academic Tutor support is available to all students.
• Students are advised of the support, disability and dyslexia services from the point of induction.
• Students are advised of the counselling service from the point of induction
• The Library has an extensive electronic catalogue including e-books and e-journals that can be accessed remotely and there is a dedicated Academic Subject Librarian.
• Academic Mentors have been employed to provide drop in sessions, individual or group sessions regarding essay, dissertation, case study writing referencing etc.
• Service users and carers’ involvement in the curriculum ensures the students learn from and gain insight into the needs of service users and carers in practical ways to support their academic learning.
• Students’ progress is monitored and assessed throughout the programme and informal and formal feedback is given in relation to their fitness to practise as a social worker and fitness to study.

Course aims

The course aims to
• Develop a professional identity of a social worker, which is underpinned by a commitment to social work values, ethics and the professional code of practice
• Facilitate a critical awareness of diversity and current forms of oppression and enable students to develop strategies to combat oppression which is unjust and/or illegal
• Ensure that the teaching of complex theoretical knowledge, skills and values is based on their application in practice
• Promote a systematic understanding of the research, knowledge and skills at the forefront of social work
• Enable students to become accountable, reflective and self-critical and critically integrate knowledge from research and theory to underpin their practice and professional development
• Enable students to demonstrate autonomy and originality in solving problems, and act independently in assessing, planning and implementing interventions at a level of professional excellence
• Ensure that the overall curriculum design and delivery is informed by service users and carers
• Recruit students from a wide range of educational, ethnic, social and cultural backgrounds
• Facilitate the critical understanding of inter professional learning and working in multi-disciplinary teams through its inter-professional curriculum initiatives
• Ensure that each student is assessed rigorously against the Standards of Proficiency in order to meet the Health and Care Professions Council’s (HCPC) requirements for social work registration and achieve the qualification level in the Professional Capabilities Framework.

Course learning outcomes

The following learning outcomes incorporate and depend on a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of the academic discipline, field of study or area of professional practice.

On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

1. Apply methods and techniques appropriate to their own research or advanced scholarship in Social Work

2. Apply knowledge with originality, based on a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in Social Work

3. Evaluate critically current research in Social Work

4. Evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses

5. Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences

6. Exercise self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level

7. Advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level

8. Exercise initiative and personal responsibility, including decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations

9. Learn independently for the purposes of continuing professional development.

Course learning outcomes / Module cross reference





Learning Outcomes L1 - 9

Assessment strategy

The course will use variety of teaching and learning styles and there are, in turn, reflected in the variety of assessment tools employed through the course. Within the general principle of mixed mode formative and summative assessments can be found a diversity of instruments: practical reports, reviews, presentations and essays, portfolios, open book examination, practice-based presentations, observations and assessed practice. Transferable skills have been embedded in the learning outcomes of the course modules. It includes formative assessment, so that students can test and assess their own performance before handing in or presenting work. The MSc includes a dissertation based on the student’s own area of interest but must be relevant to social work.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

Students will undertake two assessed placements: one per year. They are usually in different agencies with contrasting experiences, adults or children and families. One placement must include statutory work. Students are allocated a practice educator who assesses their practice.

Course specific regulations

Course Regulatory schedule for Social Work Programmes

This schedule forms a part of the Regulations for all Social Work programmes and should be read alongside the University’s Regulations, which govern courses and the responsibilities of students.

1 All University students are bound from the commencement of their course or from the point of enrolment, by all relevant Regulations, Procedures and policies.

2 Students enrolled on all social work programmes are governed by:

2.1 The University’s Academic Regulations which govern the standards of the University’s awards, the responsibilities of students and the formal roles played by staff in relation to admission to courses and programmes of study, assessment of student’s work and conferment of awards;

2.2 Regulations and Procedures, which govern the conduct of students, in particular, the Regulations applicable to all students in cases of Misconduct – incorporating a Code of Discipline; Fitness to Study; Fitness to Practise Social Work; and,

2.3 Responsibilities placed upon students regarding not only their conduct but also their professional suitability and fitness to practise, as set out in the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (HCPC, 2012). The HCPC expects that registrants and anyone who wishes to be admitted to the HCPC register will meet those standards. The HCPC Guidance on Conduct and Ethics for students describes the standards required of student social workers as they go about their daily work and at qualifying and post qualifying levels.

2.4 All breaches of the professional standards/codes will be progressed in accordance with the Fitness to Practise Social Work Procedures or other University Regulations or Procedures as appropriate (see 2.2 above).

3 In addition, social work students on the qualifying programmes have specific regulations governing professional practice placements that are also outlined below in paragraphs 10 to 47.

4 It is the responsibility of all students to read the HCPC Standards and the relevant University Regulations (accessed via the University’s online Student Handbook) to familiarize themselves with all responsibilities and requirements

Issues that may affect a student’s suitability to commence or continue training as a social worker

5 Students must familiarise themselves with the Fitness to Practise Social Work Procedures, which set down the suitability requirements and the process for reporting and investigating any breaches.

6 It is the responsibility of each student to bring to the attention of the Head of Subject or nominated staff member in a timely manner, any matter including ill health of any kind that could be considered to have a bearing on their continued suitability for social work training. Likewise, students are required to bring to the attention of the Head of Subject any matter as indicated above that could be considered to have a bearing on the suitability of another social work student

7 Failure to disclose any circumstance or information affecting a student’s suitability occurring prior to entry to the course or subsequent to enrolment shall be deemed a breach of the University’s Code of Discipline and shall be progressed in accordance with the Student Disciplinary procedures (see 5 and 6 above).

Exemptions and credit transfer

8 Students will not normally be exempted from any part of the social work programme, including the transfer of credits acquired by prior certificated learning and experiential learning due the extensive professional standards that must be met and the capabilities embedded across the whole course. For this reason, it is not normally possible to offer credit for prior learning or transfer onto a social work programme from any other programme including social work at another institution.

Attendance requirements

9 Students are required to attend all placement and skills days. In the event that any of these days are missed they must be made up. Where students are absent for 2 weeks this must be reported to NHS bursaries and payment stopped.

Placement Requirements

10 All students are required to undertake two assessed practice placements, lasting in total a minimum of 170 days, in two different social work agencies or services, as determined by the University. The statutory minimum number of days in the first placement shall be 70 days and in the second placement shall be 100 days; failure to complete these days in full will be deemed a failure to complete the placement.

11 At least one of the placements shall provide experience of statutory social work tasks involving legal interventions and of the provision of services to contrasting user groups.

12 All social work students have to undertake, complete and pass their practice placements in a timely way as part of the requirements for the professional award. The University is responsible for providing and approving the quality of the placements in relation to the professional requirements.

13 Agencies offer placements to the University and students are matched to placements in accordance to the required learning outcomes and professional standards. Students’ travel and personal circumstances are taken into account, but the overwhelming priority is gaining a suitable placement. All students will be offered a maximum of three opportunities to gain a placement. Students who fail to get an approved placement will not be able to complete the professional programme.

14 There is an application process that students must prepare for in order to maximise their acceptance by the agency - the process is similar to a job application including an interview. At interview students are required to present their complete and up to date DBS documentation to the agency. The agency has the right to reject unsuitable candidates and there is no right to appeal.

15 Where a student is successful at interview and is offered the placement – the student must accept the placement – the University will be under no obligation to provide further opportunities to gain a placement if the student refuses a placement or unilaterally leaves their placement.

16 If a student is turned down for a placement after being interviewed by the agency the Placements Office will seek feedback from the agency and, if this is available, will forward this to the student. When feedback is available a student is expected to reflect on the feedback and take this into account when preparing for the next placement interview: the student may be required to meet with the Senior Lecturer Professional Practice or nominated staff member to discuss the interview. The aim of this meeting will be to analyse the reasons for the rejection and to assist the student in preparing for the next placement interview.

17 If the student is turned down after a subsequent interview with a different agency, or with a different representative of the same agency, the student will be required to meet with the Senior Lecturer Professional Practice to discuss both interviews. A third placement interview will be sought for the student only after the student has met with the Senior Lecturer Professional Practice. In the event that the student fails to secure a placement on the third attempt, the Senior Lecturer Professional Practice may recommend to the University’s Awards Board that the student's status be terminated.

18 A student who has not passed the first placement shall not be permitted to start the second placement.

19 Supervision of the student will be undertaken by a designated practice educator or in the case of agencies utilising a long-arm practice educator, supervision will be undertaken by one or a combination of both an on-site supervisor and a long-arm practice educator, as described in the Learning Agreement under ‘Supervision Arrangements [using the agreed templates]. Unexpected and unforeseen exigencies in an agency may necessitate the supervisory arrangements to be temporarily varied.

20 During a placement there are two planned 3-way /4-way meetings – the initial meeting and the midway meeting any additional meeting will hereafter be referred to as a Placements Concerns Meeting (PCM).

21 The Practice Assessment Panel (PAP) undertakes a quality assurance process by acting as a Subject Standards Board in respect of practice placements and shall be governed by Section 8.1 of the University’s Academic Regulations.

21.1 Membership of the PAP shall comprise:
• the Head of Subject or authorised Deputy who shall Chair the PAP
• the Senior Lecturer Professional Practice;
• the BSc and/or MSc Course Leaders; Tutors; and,
• an appointed external examiner (with practice knowledge and experience).

19.2 The quoracy of the PAP shall be: the Head of Subject (or authorised deputy); the Senior Lecturer Professional Practice or Course Leader and an external examiner. In circumstances where the authorised deputy is not a qualified social worker, there will be a requirement for the PAP to include two external examiners.

The remaining of these course specific regulations are continued in your Course Handbook and WebLearn.

Modules required for interim awards

Level Title of available award Requirements

PG Cert Applied Social Studies - Any combination of modules totalling 60 credits
PG Dip Applied Social Studies - Any combination of modules totalling 120 credits

Social Work - Any combination of modules totalling 120 credits, but these must include SW7049 and SW7050

MSc Social Work - All modules

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

The student’s Personal, Professional Development Plan (PPDP) creates an opportunity for the student to identify their overall professional goals related to the PCF and the HCPC’s Standards of Conduct and Ethics. Students are given the PPDP at the start of the readiness to practice module, SW7055 Communication, Skills and Values in Social Work.

The mid-way placement meeting is an opportunity to review the student’s PPDP. The student must have begun to complete this prior to the mid-way stage meeting by stating their goals for the end of placement. This should be shared regularly in weekly supervision in order for it to be discussed and signed by the tutor, practice educator and student during the mid-way meeting.

Five days before the end of the placement the PPDP should be sent to the Practice Educator and Placement Tutor for their signatures. The completed and signed form must be included in the placement portfolio.

Professional Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) accreditations & exemptions

The Social Work MSc is accredited by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You must successfully complete and pass all your assessments to meet the Standards of Proficiency as defined by the HCPC. This will then allow you to register as a social worker with the organisation.

The course is also compliant with the Professional Capabilities Framework as defined by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW). Once registered with the HCPC, you’ll be eligible to join BASW. This will further boost your employability.

Career, employability and opportunities for continuing professional development

This qualification will lead to professional registration with HCPC and typically students are employed as social workers in a variety of agencies across the public, voluntary and independent sectors, working with different client groups or services. Recent graduates have been employed in the local authority social services departments, mental health trusts, drugs and alcohol services, children’s centres among others. Graduates have the opportunity to progress to senior social worker and advanced social worker roles, team leader and managerial roles and education including practice educators with 2 years’ experience. Students who demonstrate research potential maybe encouraged to undertake doctoral studies or publish.

Career opportunities

You will be qualified to practise social work (subject to the requirements of registration with the Health and Care Professions Council) and be eligible to become a member of the British Association of Social Workers. This is of major importance to your career as a social worker.

Because of the diverse tpoics you'll study, you won’t be limited to working in one particular field of social work.

Our graduates have taken up posts in a variety of settings and care groups. These include working with children and families, mental health settings, working with older people and supporting those with learning disabilities.

Entry requirements

You will be required to have:

  • a second class honours degree or above
  • GCSE Mathematics and English at grade C (grade 4 from 2017) or Functional Skills English Level 2 and Maths Level 2 (or equivalent)
  • employers references are needed to demonstrate a minimum of 12 weeks previous experience (at the point of application) either in a paid or voluntary capacity of working directly with vulnerable people normally within a social care or health context

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview day where you will present your original qualification certificates, your passport and a completed health check. In the interview you will undertake a written test, participate in a group exercise and attend an individual interview.

All offers of places are subject to satisfactory enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.

Due to statutory requirements, we are not able to offer sponsorship under the Tier 4 visa route for this course. We will be happy to consider those falling into this category for an alternative suitable course on request. Overseas nationals who already hold an alternative visa in a suitable category or have been granted permission to remain in the UK indefinitely and EU nationals may be considered for admission but please note that an additional international enhanced DBS check will be required.

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2013/14 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 01 Sep 2013 Last validation date 01 Sep 2013  
JACS codes L500 (Social Work): 100%
Route code SOCWRK

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 07 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
SW7047 Professional Law for Social Work Core 10 NORTH AUT MON PM
SW7049 Practice Learning 1 Core 20 NORTH AUT+SPR MULT  
SW7052 Assessment Planning and Professional Ethics Core 10 NORTH AUT TUE PM
SW7053 Critical Aspects of Human Growth and Development Core 10 NORTH SPR MON PM
SW7054 Safeguarding Children and Adults Core 10 NORTH SPR MON AM
SW7055 Communication, Skills and Values in Social Work Core 10 NORTH AUT FRI AM
          NORTH AUT FRI PM
SW7059 Social Work Theories and Perspectives Core 10 NORTH AUT TUE AM

Stage 1 Level 07 January start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
SW7047 Professional Law for Social Work Core 10        
SW7049 Practice Learning 1 Core 20        
SW7052 Assessment Planning and Professional Ethics Core 10        
SW7053 Critical Aspects of Human Growth and Development Core 10 NORTH SPR MON PM
SW7054 Safeguarding Children and Adults Core 10 NORTH SPR MON AM
SW7055 Communication, Skills and Values in Social Work Core 10        
SW7059 Social Work Theories and Perspectives Core 10        

Stage 2 Level 07 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
SW7050 Practice Learning 2 Core 20 NORTH AUT+SPR MULT  
SW7051 Evaluating Research Core 10 NORTH AUT MON AM
SW7061 Effective Social Work Practice with Children an... Core 10 NORTH AUT MON PM
SW7P29 Social Work Dissertation Core 60 NORTH SPR MON PM